End of Chapter 07 Questions

by Roger Bourke White Jr., copyright May 2018


1. Apply some of the topics presented in this chapter to some nonprimate species with which you are familiar. Can you develop some hypotheses to explain the behavior of some domestic animal species? You might want to speculate on how behavior in domestic animals may differ from that of their wild ancestors. (Chapter 2 might help you here.)

2. Try to come up with two examples of how the behavioral ecology of nonhuman primates may be helpful in explaining specific human behaviors.

3. What evidence is there for culture among nonhuman pirates? Do you think the evidence is convincing? Why or why not?

4. Do you think that knowing about aggression between groups of chimpanzees is useful in understanding conflicts between human societies? Why or why not?

5. Why are the language capabilities of nonhuman primates important to our understanding of how our own species may have acquired language?


1. Many mammal species treat members of their close social group differently than how they treat strangers. Male-female relations vary between mammal species. The male-female relations are influenced by how much resource the different genders devote to child raising and which children they devote the resource to, as in, mostly on their own kids or equally on all kids in the social group?

2. a. One of my favorites is describing how the semi-nomadic lifestyle that is common among primates has lead to the periodically dramatic End Of The World celebrations among humans. In both cases a group moves and leaves much behind and does so with a celebration.

b. Another example is Us versus Them thinking. Primates, including humans, think about members of their common group in ways that are much different than how they think about strangers.

3. Culture is when different groups of the same species act in different ways to solve common problems when common solutions are available. The textbook brings up many examples of this and I have read many science article about this, so, yes, I see culture as something many species can experience.

4. Understanding intergroup chimpanzee aggression helps us understand the roots of human aggression. Like language, human aggression has evolved into something much more elaborate than what our contemporary primates experience, but all come from the same proto-hominid roots. Looking at the differences helps us understand the roots.

5. If we are evolved, then our language capabilities evolved from those that proto-hominids already had. Those capabilities would also have spread to other primates in cases where they lead to more reproductive success. So, knowing what worked and what didn't in our ancestors, and what works and what doesn't among our contemporaries, helps us understand human language evolution.




--The End--